Skip to comments.New Self-Cloning Lizard Found in Vietnam Restaurant
Posted on 11/11/2010 8:53:09 PM PST by Fractal Trader
You could call it the surprise du jour: A popular food on Vietnamese menus has turned out to be a lizard previously unknown to science, scientists say.
What's more, the newfound Leiolepis ngovantrii is no run-of-the-mill reptilethe all-female species reproduces via cloning, without the need for male lizards.
Single-gender lizards aren't that much of an oddity: About one percent of lizards can reproduce by parthenogenesis, meaning the females spontaneously ovulate and clone themselves to produce offspring with the same genetic blueprint.
(Related: "Virgin Birth Expected at ChristmasBy Komodo Dragon.")
"The Vietnamese have been eating these for time on end," said herpetologist L. Lee Grismer of La Sierra University in Riverside, California, who helped identify the animal.
"In this part of the Mekong Delta [in southeastern Vietnam], restaurants have been serving this undescribed species, and we just stumbled across it."
(See "New Snub-Nosed Monkey Discovered, Eaten.")
Wild Lizard Chase
Grismer's Vietnamese colleague Ngo Van Tri of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology found live lizards for sale in a restaurant in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province (see map).
Noting that the reptiles all looked strangely similar, Ngo sent pictures to Grismer and his son Jesse Grismer, a herpetology doctoral student at the University of Kansas.
The father-son team suspected that they may be looking at an all-female species. That's because the team knew that the lizard likely belonged to the Leiolepis genus, in which males and females in lizards have distinct color differencesand no males were apparent in the photos.
So the pair hopped on a plane to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), telephoned the restaurant to "reserve" the lizards, and began an eight-hour motorcycle odysseywhich ended in disappointment.
"When we finally got there, this crazy guy had gotten drunk and served them all to his customers," recalled Lee Grismer, who has received funding for other projects from the National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration. (The Society owns National Geographic News.)
Fortunately other area restaurants had the lizards on offer, and local schoolchildren helped gather more from the wild. Eventually the Grismers examined almost 70 of the lizardsand all turned out to be females.
Now we need a self-cloning Chicken McNugget.
I thought he was in India??
We need to ping this to Mrs. James Carville
Call me when the self cloning lounge lizards show up.
“What’s more, the newfound Leiolepis ngovantrii is no run-of-the-mill reptilethe all-female species reproduces via cloning, without the need for male lizards. “
The feminist dream.
Let me know when they find a self-cloning T-bone.
Ping to #6.
Familiar cousins under attack. (Not Caudata Amphibia Chordata, but too close for comfort.)
How do they taste?
Nope..in South Korea.
About the same as the others.
Self-cloning? You mean like hangers?
Check their political party membership. Bet they are democrats that voted in the last election....most of them are lizards....
When you find it please freepmail me...
No- wait! There`s 2 -!!
Holy Cow! There`s 3 lizards-
Arrgh!! Damn Lizards ate all my soup!
Remember the joke about the marine biologist who found a new species in a seafood restaurant? He’d ordered the snapper.
Speaking of things that crawl on their bellies, our bank accounts are under attack, again.
Since our accounts have been “under watch” since the last time, nothing’s been taken [yet] and they have a better chance of tracing “the hacker” this time.
The usual suspect has apparently returned and a new caprine grudge has been spawned.